ALL Literature Project
The aim of ALL’s Literature Project is to support language teachers with integrating literature into their schemes of work at Key Stage 2 and 3, as required by the latest version of the national curriculum.
The project was borne out of responses to messages on ALLNet in Spring 2014 whereby ALL members asked for some initial advice and information on related issues to prepare them for the new Programmes of Study.
This project has created and now maintains two wikis, featuring contributions from language teachers of case studies outlining how they use literary and other texts in the classroom:
- ALL Literature Wiki – which accepts contributions in relation to any languages
- ALL-French Literature Wiki – which is in French, and is linked to the FIPF portal for French teachers worldwide, who we hope will also contribute their thoughts and suggestions.
Please explore and make use of the ALL-Literature wiki and make your own a contribution to this collaborative resource!
What do the Programmes of Study for KS2 require?
Explore the patterns and sounds of language through songs and rhymes and link the spelling, sound and meaning of words
- Read carefully and show understanding of words, phrases and simple writing
- Appreciate stories, songs, poems and rhymes in the language.
What do the Programmes of Study for KS3 require?
- Read and show comprehension of original and adapted materials from a range of different sources, understanding the purpose, important ideas and details, and provide an accurate English translation of short, suitable material
- Read literary texts in the language, such as stories, songs, poems and letters, to stimulate ideas, develop creative expression and expand understanding of the language and culture.
Some considerations before you start to use Literature with your learners
What is Literature?
There are diverse views on what constitutes literature! However, some key principles have emerged from the project:
- Some texts are interesting and valuable to use even if they are not ‘great literature’
- For successful class use, any text has to be age-appropriate either in terms of its content or in terms of the activity you do with it
- A literary text is a great stimulus for creative writing, and/or for performance.
Examples of these points:
- Active / interactive text in Spanish as demonstrated in the video clip here: ‘Chocolate’
The linguistic focus is on pronunciation and intonation for younger learners.
- Age-appropriate texts may well include contemporary music, e.g. from YouTube or other sources. A ‘Best of …’ collection, such as this German one, provides the resources you could use for a class Eurovision Song Contest in teams – either simply using numbers to give points, or encouraging the language of opinions and/or justifications and / or classifications. It may not be necessary (but could be interesting with certain learners) to explore the meaning of the lyrics.
- Recitation / reading aloud has been a familiar feature in many education systems, and provided ‘party pieces’ for generations! By making this a playful or competitive activity it can be highly motivating, and does not require (in early stages anyway) a full comprehension of the text – instead it can be about the sound / spelling system and the feel of the words, often reinforced by repetition.
For example : This excerpt in French by Paul Verlaine – Chevaux de bois, which begins:
Tournez, tournez, bons chevaux de bois,
Tournez cent tours, tournez mille tours,
Tournez souvent et tournez toujours,
Tournez, tournez au son des hautbois.
Some questions to discuss with colleagues
- What sort of literature is relevant to our pupils at different ages? Traditional verses, rhymes,songs,simple stories,poems,extracts from stories, novels, longer texts?
- Why are they relevant?
- What aspects of these texts could we exploit?
- What other authentic texts should we introduce to our learners? Songs, adverts, video clips, magazine or news articles? Etc.
- Why are they relevant?
- What aspects of these texts could we exploit?
Piloting the use of Literature in your classes
Piloting and contributing your suggestions
Still not sure about including Literature activities in your class? Our suggestions are below to help you get started:
1. Choose your target class
2. Choose your time slot – not too long
3. Consider what outcome(s) you want – do you want to focus with this class on speaking skills? Reading? Grammar? Narrative? Mood? Linguistic features such as rhyme, sound, assonance? Translation? Or do you want to inspire them to do some creative writing in the target language writing? etc.
4. Choose your resource – if you don’t have one in mind you could start from links on your cultural agency websites or investigate the ALL Literature wiki
5. Work out your plan/timings for presentation of the session, exploration of the text, reinforcement of your outcome objectives, warm-up, production of the outcome
6. Try it out!
7. Evaluate – what worked well? Was the outcome reached? What might you change/add/remove? Was there any learner feedback?
Would you like to share your activity with fellow language teachers? Why not contribute to the ALL Literature wiki yourself?
Teachers of French piloting a Literature activity might like these ......
- A Winston Perez poem with lots of classical cultural references
- An action song – chasse à l’ours and example of pupils performing it here
- A news story or report:
- A classic school poem ( which you can find on YouTube or FranceTV), or a poem on equality
- Animated rhymes
Teachers of French may also find the following useful:
Teachers of German piloting a Literature activity might like these ......
- A song from: Mama Lisa’s World or from the Goethe-Institut
- Top 10 German international songs or children’s songs from here
- A poem from this site dedicated to children’s poetry for all occasions or alternatives could be found from here or from this blog
- A joke, song, slang or tongue twister
- Songs and stories from UK-German Connection
Other useful links:
Comenius Project: Tales
This project was about introducing and promoting the use of stories and narratives as an educational tool for competence development in school education (6 – 18 year olds) and the implied requirements for initial and in-service teacher training. The project has produced a manual with case studies focused on classroom practice using stories and oral & digital storytelling for learning: www.storiesforlearning.eu.
A multilingual digital story-telling project involving complementary and mainstream schools working in partnership with Goldsmiths, University of London. Underlying the original project (Critical Connections – 2012-2014), funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, was a belief in the importance of plurilingualism and extended notions of literacy to prepare young people for their role as active citizens in an increasingly interdependent, yet conflicted world. The second phase of the project Critical Connections II is a global project to boost 21st century literacy in schools using digital storytelling: https://goldsmithsmdst.wordpress.com.